Museum opening hours: Monday - Friday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Chihuly and Chocolate

by Louise Irvine

Last Saturday at WMODA was sensational. Chihuly and Chocolate proved to be a winning combination and around 500 visitors enjoyed a feast for all the senses throughout the day. Due to the phenomenal response, the presentations were held in the Gallery of Amazing Things courtesy of Gregg Whittecar and Arron Rimpley with logistics by Pako Palomino and Charly Camacho.


I introduced the special guests of the day, and the WMODA exhibit Art on Fire · The Chihuly Connection, which stars the pioneers of American studio glass such as Dale Chihuly, William Morris, Lino Tagliapietra and Pino Signoretto. A new video production by Tom Joule highlighted all the different Chihuly series in the WMODA collection including his Macchia designs, Ikebanas, Seaforms, Persians and Venetians.

The capacity crowd then heard glass master Rob Stern talk about his experiences working with Chihuly, Lino and Pino during his thirty-year career. In 1989, Rob had the opportunity to study at Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, which was founded by Dale Chihuly in 1971. The philosophy at Pilchuck is that artists teach artists and Rob learned from international masters who shared their skills at the annual summer school. From an emerging artist to an experienced teacher with his own studio, Rob has returned to Pilchuck every year to experiment with new glass forms and teach glass sculpture. He owes a special debt to the late Pino Signoretto, who collaborated with Chihuly on the Putti series. After Rob’s enlightening talk, guests flocked upstairs to WMODA to ask questions and see his work in the Art on Fire exhibit alongside his mentors, Chihuly, Pino and Lino.

Rob is known particularly for his iconic Windstar sculptures, which are dedicated to his father, a consummate stargazer fascinated with cosmic phenomena. He was inspired also by his surname Stern which means star in German. Rob’s latest Windstar entitled Copernica is on display at WMODA along with several other new sculptures such as Seadream, a collaborative work with David Peterson which will be a feature of the Glass Art Society conference in St. Petersburg from March 28-31.


The aroma of chocolate permeated the Chihuly gallery as guests waited patiently in line to sample the delicious chocolate presented by Paul and Esther from Finest Imports. They represent ChocoMe created by master chocolatier Gabor Meszaros in Budapest. This exclusive artisan hand-crafted chocolate has won many international awards, including Top 50 Gourmet Foods in the World. WMODA volunteers Betsy Kennedy and Alisa Melchanova also circulated with samples to satisfy the eager demand to taste all the different varieties from ChocoMe. A special thank you to the Underhays and ChocoMe for a frenzied five hours of non-stop chocolate tasting and buying. ChocoMe’s edible works of art will continue to be sold at the WMODA boutique and make the perfect gift for chocaholics.


One of the frustrating aspects of museums are the ‘Do not Touch’ signs but during Sensational Saturday at WMODA guests were able to touch the tools for making glass art at our Creative Glass Workshops. Anne Orvieto and Scherry Donato talked about the process for making fused and kiln formed glass art with their mentor Chelsea Rousso. Chelsea is a fashion writer, teacher and glass artist who is well known at WMODA for her innovative wearable glass. Several of her glass bikini tops and corsets are currently on display in our Carnival & Cabaret exhibit. It’s very tempting to touch these works of art to imagine the sensation of wearing a glass outfit. It’s all about touching and making at Chelsea’s next glass workshop on Friday, March 15.


Humans are credited with five traditional senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. In some philosophies, such as Buddhism, the mind is included as a sensory organ with a gateway to a different spectrum of phenomena. Many people believe in a sixth sense or extrasensory perception which receives information sensed with the mind rather than the recognized physical senses.

Public artist Lloyd Goradesky uses the Power of Art to bring awareness to our natural surroundings and his work ranges from multi-media design to complex photographic creations. Goradesky's artistic goal is to get the viewer to look 'through' the actual art piece and to interpret the meaningful message of the art. Lloyd certainly stimulated our imaginations with his philosophy of art and his extraordinary creations on Saturday. He also provided lots of tips and tricks for smartphone photographers. A sea of illuminated cellphones lit up the audience, just like a rock concert, as Lloyd taught us new photo techniques.

Friends of WMODA are aware of Lloyd’s famous Gator in the Bay at Art Basel a few years ago and his kinetic weathervane Let Love Guide Your Way, which was recently erected in Dewie Park, Boynton Beach. The purpose of Lloyd’s latest project is to spread the message of universal love and to encourage kindness, compassion and consideration for everyone. In Lloyd’s words, “A weathervane is a device used to measure wind direction.  A ‘weathervane’ is also a metaphoric expression to describe people who change their views frequently. In a chaotic world, when faced with a dilemma, let love guide your way.

Lloyd’s kinetic weathervane design is now being considered for a Parkland Memorial. Replicas can be purchased through the WMODA museum shop. These striking Objets d’Art are made of aluminum and stand 18 inches tall with a 22-inch circumference spin on a heart shaped granite base. They can be displayed indoors or outdoors. Proceeds will benefit WMODA educational programs, such as Sensational Saturdays.


Thank you to all the staff and volunteers at WMODA for making this event such a phenomenal success. In addition to the supporters already mentioned, Joel Torres and volunteer Janet McCombs managed the bustling activity in the museum shop all day. Kimberly Sheridan took hundreds of guests on tour of the historical collections while volunteers, including George Hawthorn, John Schussler, Jim Read, Klaus Werner and Bernette Bowen, answered questions and directed all the newcomers around WMODA. Lori Brown, Doris Werner, Kathryn Crawford and Tamara Buchanan welcomed all the visitors at reception. Our volunteer photographer Mike Brodie took some wonderful photos of the event and Tom Joule captured some great video clips.